Alum

An alum (/ˈæləm/) is a type of chemical compound, usually a hydrated double sulfate salt of aluminium with the general formula XAl(SO 4) 2·12H 2O, where X is a monovalent cation such as potassium or ammonium. By itself, "alum" often refers to potassium alum, with the formula KAl(SO 4) 2·12H 2O. Other alums are named after the monovalent ion, such as sodium alum and ammonium alum. The name "alum" is also used, more generally, for salts with the same formula and structure, except that aluminium is replaced by another trivalent metal ion like chromium(III), and/or sulfur is replaced by another chalcogen like selenium. The most common of these analogs is chrome alum KCr(SO 4) 2·12H 2O. In most industries, the name "alum" (or "papermaker's alum") is used to refer to aluminium sulfate Al 2(SO 4) 3·nH 2O, which is used for most industrial flocculation. In medicine, "alum" may also refer to aluminium hydroxide gel used as a vaccine adjuvant.

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